In 2005 the Panthers held the 14th overall pick, and selected linebacker Thomas Davis. Taken as an anti-Vick, Davis has been one of the team's most productive defensive players in the last ten years -- even with his injuries. With just over three weeks until the NFL draft, today we look at fellow top fourteen picks and what they've done.
Three defensive backs have been taken at #14 in the last ten years, but Darrelle Revis is the best without question. Selected by the New York Jets in 2007, he could have landed in Carolina. If you'll remember this was the year the Panthers traded back, allowing New York to move up and take Revis. The Panthers wound up with Jon Beason and Ryan Kalil -- while the Jets are shopping Revis for a first round pick.
The popular position to mock to the Panthers is defensive tackle, and for good reason. Three defensive tackles have been taken at the pick in the last decade, with Tommie Harris (2004) being the most successful, but it could wind up that Michael Brockers (2012) finishes with the best career.
Interestingly, the 14th pick is almost never a wide receiver. Since 1936 only one WR has been taken, John Jefferson in 1978. Playing eight years he had a precipitous fall after leaving San Diego, and was unable to match his early career success. In comparison, linebacker is the most selected -- with eight players taken at 14.
The five greatest 14th picks of all time
1. Jim Kelly, QB -- Buffalo
A hall of famer, it's impossible to argue with Kelly as the best #14 of all time. Finishing with over 35,000 career passing yards, and 237 touchdowns, he's one of the best ever.
2. Dave Robinson, LB -- Green Bay
Drafted in 1966, Robinson was an impact player in an era before tackles were a recorded statistic. The second hall of fame player at 14, he had 27 career interceptions from a linebacker position.
3. Randy Gradishar, LB -- Denver
Like Robinson, he played in an era before tackles were an accepted metric for evaluating linebackers. Nevertheless, he has a huge part of the Broncos' success in the 70's and 80's.
4. Mike Curtis, LB -- Baltimore
The run on linebackers continue with 'Mad Dog' Mike Curtis. A four-time pro bowler, and a two-time all pro he arrived in Baltimore not long after Jerry Richardson left the organization.
5. Doug Wilkerson, G -- Houston
The Oilers' guard played 195 career games in fifteen seasons. Over this time he was a three-time probowler, and an all pro in 1982.